FEBRUARY 2001 BACK ISSUE

Horse Previews Magazine website - Posted on 02/07/2001; 2:00:00PM.


APHA Blazing Happy Trails for Recreational Riders

Fort Worth- Based on a recent survey showing that 50 percent of its members are primarily interested in recreational riding with their horses, the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) is redoubling its efforts to help them enjoy the trails.

APHA, which has hosted a trail ride for its members every year for the past 10 years, will host two rides in 2001. The first outing, the Black River Trail Ride, will be held August 6-10 in the Ozark foothills of Lesterville, MO. A second ride is planned September 3-8 at the historic Fort Robinson State Park in the rugged Pine Ridge region of northern Nebraska, near Crawford. The addition of a second ride is part of a long-range plan to make scenic and enjoyable rides available to members at convenient locations throughout the country.

The association also encourages members of its 111 regional clubs throughout the country to develop similar outings in their areas.

With half of its 100,000 members indicating that recreational riding is their main activity with their Paint Horse, APHA is keenly aware that many prefer the trail to the show arena.

"We are committed to reaching out and serving those riders," said Ed Roberts, APHA executive secretary.

"It's important for us to promote safe, enjoyable riding and a love of the great outdoors," continued Roberts. "Whether they're out on the trail with us in Nebraska or Missouri, or on the trails in their local communities, we want people to have outstanding memorable experiences on their Paint Horses."

For those who prefer to blaze their own trails, APHA developed a program for them to do just that: Ride America®. By participating in this innovative saddle-log program, members earn rewards and recognition for their individual achievements riding an American Paint Horse.

When riders enroll in Ride America, they receive an official time log and a Ride America Patch. They record each hour spent riding their American Paint Horse, and as they move through seven achievement levels- from 100 to 3,000 hours- APHA records their accomplishments and rewards them with special patches. Depending on the number of hours accumulated, participants can also earn saddlebags, halters, lead ropes and saddle pads.

There is no time limit for riders to achieve their hours, as long as their APHA membership remains active.

Still another way APHA promotes recreational riding is through the free distribution of its "Guide to Recreational Riding."

The 36-page guide is packed full of useful information, from the importance of keeping horses in good condition to common sense safety guidelines. The booklet also contains valuable information on tack and equipment, saddling up, riding manners, trailering a horse and general horsemanship. The guide also has a special section on trail riding.

"People who read that booklet from cover to cover learn a whole lot about riding. It's a great guide," said Roberts.

As APHA continues to grow, Roberts said the association will remain committed to serving the large proportion of members who have indicated that communing with nature on horseback is important to them.

While they may not receive silver belt buckles or show ribbons for their efforts, recreational riding enthusiasts come away with memories that last a lifetime.

"Great memories, camaraderie, an appreciation for the land, and a close relationship with your horse- that's what it's all about out there on the trail," said Roberts. "We want to help people experience that."

For More information on APHA's recreational riding program, or to receive the free "Guide to Recreational Riding," write or call: APHA Ride Coordinator, American Paint Horse Association, P.O. Box 961023, Fort Worth, Texas 76161-0023. Telephone: (817) 834-2742, extension 773

Information on the APHA Ride America® program can be accessed on the association's website at http://www.apha.com/programs/rideamer.html


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